By Stelios Orphanides
The owners of the Tanzania-based FBME Bank filed a petition at a US court requesting a fresh hearing of an appeal, which was rejected because the holding company, FBME Ltd, could not sue after it was struck off a year ago by the Cayman Islands.
“There has been a key factual development since the Panel’s judgment,” the FBME lawyers Peter Spivak of Hogan Lovells US LLP, and Derek Shaffer of Quin Emanuel Urquhart and Sullivan LLP, said in the application dated October 25.
“The Grand Court of the Cayman Islands has — with maximum expedition — retroactively reinstated FBME to the Cayman Register of Companies, thereby resolving the defect that was the primary basis for this panel’s dismissal of this appeal”.
“The panel’s secondary basis for dismissal — a lack of diligence — was not an issue briefed by the parties, and the panel’s decision on this point overlooks facts, precedents, and considerations that commend a different outcome,” the two lawyers representing FBME owners, the brothers Ayoub-Fari Saab and Fadi Michel Saab, said.
,On October 6, the US Court of Appeals of Columbia District rejected FBME’s request to keep proceedings suspended, after the company’s lawyers became aware two days earlier that the company had been struck off the company register of the Caribbean island nation. Schaffer told the US court that the process to reinstate FBME would take six to eight weeks.
Days later, Shaffer informed the court that the bank received instructions from its supervisor Bank of Tanzania, which had placed FBME under liquidation in May, to withdraw from the appeal. The appeal challenges a first instance decision issued six months ago to reject a motion against the decision of US authorities to ban the lender from transacting in US dollars.